Dear Hillary Clinton,
I can’t begin to tell you how unhappy I was at the beginning of 2015. You were the only one running and, though I knew I would support you and vote for you in 2016, I was not looking forward to what I was going to have to do to get you elected. At that time getting you elected was imperative because I was terrified of the idea of any Republicans getting into the White House again. But it was going to be an absolute nightmare to have to defend you against what I knew to be completely legitimate criticisms and indictments, and I wasn’t sure I could do it again. You wouldn’t believe what a ball of anxiety I was back then!
“Why is this such a problem, when I did this for Obama in both 2008 and 2012?” I asked myself. Well, in 2008 this was easy. Obama was new and fresh and didn’t have a lot of past by which we could judge him. He enthusiastically promised to fight for ordinary citizens and he made it easy to give him the benefit of the doubt that he would keep this promise. But in 2012 this was no longer the case. He did have a past by which to judge him, and it was disappointing at best where it wasn’t inexcusable. I spent hours arguing with non-voters, fence-sitters, and third party voters on social media, trying to convince them to vote for Obama, and invariably I found myself in the position of arguing that atrocities were somehow different or more acceptable when Obama ordered them. I had to seriously pretend that Obama was a lesser evil and that a lesser evil was by definition good. I knew it was complete bullshit, but I still did it to get Obama elected because I was desperately hoping that he was saving it up for that second term. Surely he would come through for us this time! And he did not. It was hard to look at myself in the mirror throughout that 2012 election cycle, and it was all for nothing.
I spent 16 years as a loyal registered member of the Democratic Party because I believed it had the best of intentions, that it wanted to do better and be honest, that it was the “lesser evil” solely because it was playing by the only rules that currently allowed them to get elected, and that if given a path to victory that allowed them to refuse the money of the 1% aristocracy and enact legislation to help the 99% they would take it. I believed the Democratic Party, though corrupt, was able to be fixed in time. But most of all I was terrified of the Republicans. The Democrats are evil, but the Republicans are even more evil, and all that matters is keeping them out of office no matter what. I truly believed these things.
So around the start of 2015, I was looking toward another election cycle of peddling this same obscene nonsense and going through all the same anxiety that it would understandably fail and a Republican would win the White House. And I was unspeakably depressed at the prospect of demeaning myself like this and insulting the intelligence and morality of others just to get a marginally less terrible candidate into office. The lesser evil was becoming a wholly unconvincing argument, not only to other people but to myself. It was like knowingly trying to sell a lemon car to an impoverished family. I wasn’t sure I could do it again.
Then Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy. I cheered. I didn’t think he could be truly competitive much less actually win, but I really believed he would push you to the left, and that you would go there willingly. I thought the Democratic Party would be thrilled at how he broke every historical campaigning rule, and what should have been political suicide instead propelled him up the polls. I thought they would be glad to find they didn’t have to be corporate property to get elected and would start working for the people again. Moreover, I had never felt so proud to be a Democrat. You seemed to be paying attention to what we were saying and moving leftward. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were, that as the Republicans were fronting seventeen different flavors of failure, we were fronting two fantastic candidates, either of whom I would be proud to vote for in the general election and either of whom was guaranteed to win over any of the Republican choices. We had this in the bag!
Then you started rolling it back, likely thinking it a done deal and getting prepared for the general. You abandoned your pretense of progressivism and started moving to the right again. I started cooling on you at that point, even when you decided to inch left again when it became obvious Bernie wasn’t going anywhere. I no longer thrilled when you said progressive things because I no longer believed you meant them, and I know I wasn’t alone as Bernie’s numbers, though still low, continued to climb. If you had kept up your original con from the start, you probably wouldn’t be in the mess you’re in now. But you couldn’t do it. You got greedy, careless, and impatient and decided you were going to call the primary for yourself months before the first vote was cast, and that was probably your first and greatest mistake, because once you started going rightward it became impossible to believe you when you would say anything even remotely progressive.
If only you’d left it there. I was cooling on you, but I still would have voted for you in the general election. I still believed at that time that you were better than any Republican, that any Democrat was better than any Republican. I still believed in “lesser evilism” and considered myself a Democratic Loyalist. But you couldn’t do that either. Instead, you and the Democratic Party showed your true colors at that point. You manufactured scandals against Sanders. You engaged in a smear campaign, not only against Sanders but against his supporters, promoting a demonstrably false narrative that they are invariably young white boys in their early twenties who hate women and attend KKK meetings, or that they are all just silly lazy children who want free stuff and only vote Sanders because they don’t know any better. You got your surrogates to insult and threaten him and his supporters. You tainted the reputations of respected civil rights leaders by having them lie about the actions of Sanders supporters, or about Bernie’s well-documented history with the Civil Rights Movement. You engaged in a media blackout. And when that seemed like it might fail, you committed massive voter suppression and election fraud to disenfranchise anyone who supported Sanders. Let’s not pretend that it’s an “honest mistake” that you can have over 150,000 Sanders supporters have their registrations flipped to Republican without a single one of your own supporters being affected. Even if you were just flipping registrations in districts that were polling heavily for Bernie, there should have been some Clinton voters who got caught up in the net. It couldn’t have been more obvious if you’d just stacked the two candidate’s votes in two piles, lit Bernie’s on fire and declared Hillary the unanimous winner right in front of everyone. And then you spread more slander, claiming we were violently rioting when the only actual violence that has been committed during this primary has been by Hillary supporters against Bernie supporters. Somehow, one of those stories made it onto every news channel and the others were downplayed to non-existence. You can guess which was which, I’m sure.
You and your cronies stole the nomination and you did it openly and proudly, in a spotlight on America’s front lawn. And now you’re trying to paint us as “sore losers” and “crybabies” because we object to losing through fraud or “conspiracy theorists” because we refuse to pretend we didn’t see what you didn’t even try to hide. Believe me, we are not just “sore losers”. Many if not most of us started this primary thinking Hillary would win, and we would vote for her if she did. But that was entirely contingent on the condition that Hillary would win and Bernie would lose fairly, and it is obvious to every honest American with eyes and ears that a fair election was not conducted. And the theft was done in a way that was intended to crush Bernie’s revolution, to beat the uppity peasants into the concrete, to break them and make an example of them, to show us that the Democratic establishment will not allow any change to happen and that they expect us to bow down and obey orders like a common feudal serf and just be glad they haven’t killed us yet, if only because they haven’t achieved full automation. It was done in a way that was intended to show us and make us really feel the awesome contempt you and the DNC truly have for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and the message was received, though the response may not be what you expected.
I have come to terms with the fact that the Republicans will eventually get the White House. They always do at some point. It’s inevitable. The Supreme Court is always an issue, as is abortion, as is every single important social issue you can name. There will never come an election where those are not issues. And I’ve come to realize why it is that when we give you Democrats the ball on all of this, you drop it every time in the name of “bipartisanship”. It’s because you like things the way they are, no less than the Republicans, and pretending to give a damn about social issues will keep us voting for you like robots every time. But you can’t afford to actually fix the problems because then you wouldn’t be able to scare us into voting for you. You don’t even really want to fix those problems. You have just as much contempt and hatred for the peasantry, for civil rights, for democracy, as do the Republicans, and you only pretend to care because it’s a convenient tool to get people to vote for you without thinking.
Thanks to you I no longer fear Republicans, and I no longer believe in the progressive potential of the Democratic Party. I no longer feel that I have to vote for any Democrat just to keep a Republican out, and I sure as hell no longer feel like I have to go on social media, or the phone, or door to door, peddling desperate lies to coerce others into voting for you against their consciences and my own as well. You have cast the scales from my eyes and shown me what you truly are: not a lesser evil at all, but an equal evil wearing a better disguise. For the first time I find myself ashamed to call myself a Democrat, and soon I no longer will be. I’m done throwing my vote away on the Democratic Party. There is a reason that neither Warren’s nor Sanders’s endorsements were able to rehabilitate you, Hillary. And it’s no one’s fault but your own.
Despite all of the depression and betrayal, I find myself feeling strangely happy thinking about all of this for one reason and one reason only: I am finally free. I will not be forced to try and defend you or the DNC this November. I will not have to pretend with a straight face that crimes and atrocities are different when you commit them. I will not have to argue about how many cat hairs can be fit between Democrats and Republicans while insisting that this negligible difference is actually massive. I will be able to look at myself in the mirror for the first time in years. And you know what? That feels incredible, and I have you to thank for it. If it wasn’t for you, I never would have even seen the shackles and the chains that have held me down for so long. I have been a prisoner and a slave for so long without even realizing it, and for the first time in years, I am free.
So thank you, Hillary Clinton. You have truly changed my life for the better.
A Former Democratic Loyalist
Cross-post with caucus99percent